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February 27, 2012

The Pension Enhancement Plan (PEP) is a one-time incentive for Early Retirement Incentive Program (ERIP) eligible employees of $5,000.00 per year for full-time certified and classified employees with an effective Virginia Retirement System (VRS) retirement date of July 1, 2012, August 1, 2012, or September 1, 2012. Pittsylvania County Schools (PCS) will pay this pension enhancement amount until the applicant either reaches the age to receive full Social Security benefits or for seven (7) years, whichever comes first. Applications for the PEP incentive program will be accepted until the close of business on Friday, March 2, 2012. You may download an application by clicking on the following link:

Last week, the State Board of Education voted to ask the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for a waiver from provisions of the 10-year-old federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law that have resulted in the misidentification as failing of successful and improving Virginia schools. If approved, the waiver would allow the Commonwealth to merge State and federal requirements into a single accountability system. Virginia schools and school divisions would no longer have to meet increasingly unrealistic Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) benchmarks in reading and mathematics, nor the law’s mandate that all students achieve grade-level proficiency by 2014. Currently, Virginia schools receive two (2) annual accountability ratings: a State accreditation rating and a federal AYP rating under NCLB. School divisions also receive an AYP rating. Under the system outlined in the Board’s waiver application, schools would continue to receive annual State accreditation ratings based on overall achievement in English, mathematics, science and history, as they have since 1999 under Virginia’s Standards of Learning (SOL) program. Annual report cards would include a “dashboard” graphically illustrating progress toward closing proficiency gaps. The enhanced reporting would focus on the following “gap” groups:

  • Gap group 1: Students with disabilities, English-language learners and economically disadvantaged students

  • Gap group 2: African-American students, not of Hispanic origin, not already included in gap group 1

  • Gap group 3: Hispanic students, of one or more races, not already included in gap group 1 or 2

State officials indicate that the new report cards will clearly show which schools are not making progress in raising the achievement of historically low-performing student subgroups to State standards.

Emergency Services Director Jim Davis announces that the Pittsylvania County Department of Emergency Management and the Pittsylvania County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is accepting registrations for “Skywarn” training. The class will be held in Chatham, Virginia, at the Pittsylvania County School Board Educational and Cultural Center (ECC) auditorium (37 Pruden Street, Chatham, Virginia).

  • There must be at least fifty (50) participants for this class.

  • There is no charge for registration.

  • Class will begin on March 26, 2012, from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

  • To register for this class, please visit: or please call (434) 432-7920, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

The following information is courtesy of the National Weather Service regarding the Skywarn program:

Thus far, my experiences in Pittsylvania County Schools’ classrooms have been interesting, enlightening and engaging. Although my visits have resulted in “snapshots” of what is taking place in the classrooms, there are certain fundamental instructional practices that I am focusing on during these “walk-through” visits.

  • Do the students know what they are learning?

  • Are students activating their prior knowledge?

  • Are students provided think time?

  • Do students actively participate in their learning?

  • Is the learning objective posted and understood by the students?

  • Are measurements being used to assess learning?

  • What is the engagement level of the students?

  • Does the classroom environment contribute to student learning?

  • Is the use of technology being successfully integrated into the instructional program?

This week I have the pleasure of visiting:

  • Chatham Elementary School on Wednesday, February 29, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 Noon.

  • Southside Elementary School on Thursday, March 1, 2012, from 12:00 Noon until 3:00 p.m.



Please join me in congratulating Mr. Don Johnson, Assistant Superintendent for Business, on his selection as Pittsylvania County Schools’ Employee of the Week. Please click on the following link to find out what our employees do to make this A Great Place to Learn and Work!

Recently, Hurt Elementary School students, parents and staff participated in the Jump Rope for Heart program to raise money for the American Heart Association. The event, deemed a “huge success” by the school administration and staff, raised $1,722.25 in an effort to contribute to the organization whose motto is “to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.” Giving something back to the community is another shining example of why Pittsylvania County Schools is A Great Place to Learn and Work!
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March 4-10, 2012, is School Social Work Week. This year’s theme is Social Work Matters. This week offers an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the important work being done by school social workers and visiting teachers. The individuals are trained to employ a wide range of professional strategies to enhance how students learn. School social workers function as a connection with the home, school and the community by providing services. A school social worker or visiting teacher serves as an advocate, liaison, coordinator, case manager, and consultant for students, parents, school staff and community agency personnel. Schools use social workers and visiting teachers in a variety of ways and roles; therefore, they must be flexible, creative and able to demonstrate competencies in a wide range of areas. Please join me in recognizing Ms. Emily Stinespring and Mr. Jim Tolbert (Home/School Coordinators) for all they do to make Pittsylvania County Schools “A Great Place to Learn and Work!”

Pittsylvania County Schools will hold pre-school registration for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students on Friday, March 16, 2012, from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Pre-K students must be four (4) on or before September 30, 2012, reside within the respective school zones of Brosville Elementary School, Chatham Elementary School, Gretna Elementary School, Hurt Elementary School, Kentuck Elementary School, Mt. Airy Elementary School, Southside Elementary School, Stony Mill Elementary School, Twin Springs Elementary School, and Union Hall Elementary School, and meet eligibility requirements. Kindergarten students who have not been previously registered in a Pittsylvania County school must be five (5) on or before September 30, 2012. Kindergarten students should be enrolled in the school where the parent/guardian resides. For further information, contact the School Board Office at (434) 432-2761, 793-1624 or 656-6248.

The Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA) Student Art Show is scheduled for Tuesday, April 24, 2012, at Dan River High School. Each school division has been asked to enter three (3) pieces of student art (one elementary school, one middle school, one high school) into the competition. The student art will be judged at the forum with ribbons for the winners and certificates awarded to all entrants. Winning student art will be framed and displayed in the offices of the Secretary of Education, Department of Education and the VSBA. Ms. Tonda Finney, Executive Administrative Assistant for Instruction, and Dr. Lillian Holland, Assistant Superintendent for Instruction, will be providing more detailed information to the building administrators at the schools.

March 5-9, 2012, is National School Breakfast Week. The theme this year is "School Breakfast – Go for Gold." The goal is to get more students eating breakfast and, in turn, get them reaping the rewards: better grades, higher levels of concentration in the classroom, fewer absences and visits to the school nurse, better eating habits, lower obesity rates and better behavior at school and at home.

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